Representatives from Peak Performance, a nonprofit that helps job seekers with disabilities find careers, speaks with attendees during the annual Technology Fair Sept. 14 at the Fort Cavazos Community Center. (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
Representatives from Peak Performance, a nonprofit that helps job seekers with disabilities find careers, speaks with attendees during the annual Technology Fair Sept. 14 at the Fort Cavazos Community Center. (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: SAMANTHA HARMS) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — More than 30 exhibitioners were in attendance for the annual Technology Fair to celebrate 2023 National Disability Awareness Month, hosted by the Fort Cavazos Equal Employment Opportunity Office Sept. 14 at the Fort Cavazos Community Center.

The event provided an opportunity for specialists from Fort Cavazos, Central Texas communities and surrounding areas to answer questions and provide information regarding disability assistance, reasonable accommodation, equal employment opportunities and more. Some exhibitors also demonstrated techniques and programs that can ease daily struggles with aches and pains from injury or disability.

“We are trying to get people to understand that there are people with disabilities, and it’s not just only physical, we have mental and emotional disabilities, but these people have value,” explained Joyce Arbaugh, the disability program manager at Fort Cavazos. “And with that value, they can bring so much more to employers who, if they just give them a chance, they’re here, they’re available and it’s the ‘I can do it’ (attitude). And that’s the whole purpose of this, just to show them what’s available in the community and the surrounding areas.”

There were several different organizations including on-post Garrison organizations such as the Fort Cavazos Employee Assistance program, the Fort Cavazos Recycle Center, the Army Recovery Care Program and the Fort Cavazos Transition Assistance Program.

Other businesses and organizations not on Fort Cavazos included the Texas Veterans Commission, H-E-B, Amazon and Peak Performance.

Brian Dosa, director of the Fort Cavazos Directorate of Public Works, was one of many in attendance at the fair and said that the event is more than just an opportunity for organizations and companies to show off what they can do.

Col. Lakicia Stokes, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander, speaks with Dr. Chunita Vick, a lead coordinator/recovery care coordinator with the Army Recovery Care Program, and Joy Pasco, also a lead coordinator/recovery care coordinator with ARCP, Sept. 14 at the annual technology fair.  (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
Col. Lakicia Stokes, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander, speaks with Dr. Chunita Vick, a lead coordinator/recovery care coordinator with the Army Recovery Care Program, and Joy Pasco, also a lead coordinator/recovery care coordinator with ARCP, Sept. 14 at the annual technology fair. (U.S. Army photo by Samantha Harms, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: SAMANTHA HARMS) VIEW ORIGINAL

“We really appreciate the work that EEO does to support our workforce,” Dosa said. “They do an amazing job of working with our teammates, our employees, solving different challenges and issues that they might have, whether it’s an accommodation or whether it’s a toxic work environment or some other problem that they might have. We want to be productive, and we want our employees to be able to be fully contributing to the team. We’re all humans, we all make mistakes. Sometimes situations just don’t go well, and EEO is just so helpful in solving those situations.

“Today, the focus is a lot on different technology that’s out there, that exists to help our employees that may need an accommodation, or might need some help to be able to do their job and continue to contribute in spite of a challenge that they might have,” Dosa continued. “It’s great to see the different vendors with different technology out here and different things that are available to help our employees be successful. The bottom line (is I) just really appreciate EEO (and) what they do, and I’m excited to see everybody out here.”

This event happens every year, and Arbaugh is already looking forward to next year’s.

“(The event is) not just civilians, but we want to talk to the Soldiers,” Arbaugh shared. “We want to talk to the family members, and we have to make sure that we get the word out that disability is not always physical, and that’s what the problem is. People are suffering in silence, and the more we can get them the help they need, the more chances that we can alleviate people feeling depressed, filled with anxiety and suicidal. We can help with all those mental and emotional (disabilities) as well as physical behaviors to assist and to help people. People first.”

Next year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 12, 2024.